The Octopus Escapes
By Mary Eisenhart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Lively, colorful celebration of cleverness and homecoming.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The octopus' adventure offers lots of detail in words and pictures about life under the sea, and the creatures you're likely to meet there. Felicita Sala's vivid, colorful, curvy images have a lot of appeal and bring the ocean environment to life.
Learn to appreciate home and your daily life instead of taking them for granted. Use your own intelligence, resourcefulness, and determination to fix things when you're in a bad place. Problem-solving skills rule.
Positive Role Models
The octopus is a resourceful guy with strong views, excellent problem-solving skills, and a benevolent nature, unless you're the crab he's having for lunch. He takes his happy home for granted, until one day his curiosity gets him in trouble as he crawls into a diver's glove and is captured. He interacts politely with his captors, acing their tests and learning their tasks, but when he tries to tell them why he's not happy, they just laugh and don't take him seriously. So he knows he has to get out of there, and he does -- but not before leaving a photo for his captors "so they wouldn't worry."
Violence & Scariness
The whole premise of this (based on a true) story involves being snatched from your home, held captive in a strange place, and subjected to assorted tests by scientists -- all of which is legitimately scary. But The Octopus Escapes is a triumphant celebration focused on its hero, whose response to his bad circumstances is a big Yeah No, followed by figuring out how to get back home where he belongs. And doing it. One of his favorite activities at home is chasing and eating crabs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Octopus Escapes is a vivid, appealing picture book with words by Maile Meloy and images by Felicita Sala. It's loosely based on the true story of the octopus who made headlines in 2016 by squeezing, sliding, and slithering his way out of a New Zealand aquarium to freedom in the ocean. What could be a scary story of capture and imprisonment is instead a celebration of the polite, resourceful sea creature, his determination to get back to his happy home, and the exuberant cleverness with which he achieves his goal.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
THE OCTOPUS ESCAPES opens with the title character enjoying life in his undersea cave -- the waves, the currents, the colorful fish, the crabs he chases for dinner. One day his curiosity gets the better of him and he crawls into a diver's empty glove -- and is soon taken to a tank in an aquarium. There humans interact with him, give him a lot of tasks and tests, feed him the same food every day -- and just laugh and ignore him when he tries to explain that he's cramped and bored. So he realizes he's got to get out and go home.
Is It Any Good?
In simple words and colorful pictures, Maile Meloy and Felicita Sala offer a cheer-worthy tale of a captive sea creature, his resolution to get back home, and his cleverness making it happen. Engaging and relatable to kids and adults alike, The Octopus Escapes is positive and upbeat, avoiding gloom and doom in favor of empowerment, perseverance, and happy homecoming.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about octopuses and their lives in the ocean. Have you heard about them before you knew about The Octopus Escapes? Have you ever seen one in real life? Do you think they're interesting creatures? What do they do that you think is cool?
When the octopus lives at the aquarium, he misses the way things were always changing in his cave. What do you think you'd miss about your home if you had to be somewhere else?
The octopus likes solving puzzles. How do you feel about puzzles?
- Author: Maile Meloy
- Illustrator: Felicita Sala
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Adventures, Ocean Creatures, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: May 7, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 3 - 7
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 2, 2022
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Where to Read
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